New president sends institute representatives to an unprecedented 17 conference events

The RIBA’s new president is set to stamp his mark on the institute by seeking greater influence with the government.

Sunand Prasad is spearheading an unprecedented RIBA presence at this autumn’s party conferences, setting the tone for his presidency which began this week.

The RIBA will be represented at 17 Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat events this year. In 2006, it attended four.

Prasad will host receptions at all three conferences. Hazel Blears, the communities secretary, will join him at the Labour event, Greg Barker, the shadow environment minister, at the Tory event and Chris Huhne, the environment spokesperson, at the Lib Dem event.

He will take questions from the floor at three “environmental question times”, with Yvette Cooper, the housing minister, for Labour, eco-activist Zac Goldsmith for the Conservatives and Huhne for the Lib Dems.

The RIBA will also host “ask an architect” sessions. Prasad, Bill Dunster and Bill Gethin will engage in one-on-one sessions with MPs and delegates on sustainability and housing.

The RIBA is preparing its response to July’s green paper on housing. It has also contributed to the communities department’s select committee inquiry into existing housing.

A RIBA spokesperson said: “Sunand has identified the political sphere as one of the RIBA’s most important audiences. Our objectives for climate change [published last October] are ambitious, but we will be looking at everything from planning to procurement.”

The Construction Confederation (CC), Construction Industry Council (CIC) and Construction Products Association will host conference meetings together.

Nick Raynsford, the MP and CIC chairman, and Adrian Barden of Wolseley will host a Labour reception. Alistair Burt, shadow local government minister, and James Wates, CC chairman, will speak at a Tory fringe event.